Getting new game consoles as a kid is a strange experience. Aside from specific games that you really want and have read about in magazines for months, what exactly you play and eventually fall in love with is often a coincidence. When my mom dumped my dirty dad and we moved to other countries in 2002, she stole his original PlayStation and a box full of games before throwing them in my lap. Suddenly I was christened a gamer.
This box contained a laundry list of classics. Final Fantasy 7, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Hogs of War, Gex: Deep Cover Gecko, Silent Hill and so many others that elude me all these years later. I came from a relatively poor family with nine siblings and parents who worked all the time, so often I was given video games and expected to pass the time on my own terms. Aside from forming a little bit of resentment, this also put me on the path to where I am today. My PS2 was second hand and bought from my brother’s stoner bestie for a fraction of the price, while my PS3 came from similar circumstances.
I didn’t get a freshly sealed package on Christmas morning, but something that looked like it had been stolen from the back of a lorry on the M25. Maybe it was, and who was I to ask how this machine got here? It was mine, and I want to run through the random selection of games that come with it. Turns out my mom actually has decent taste.
Sonic the hedgehog
Okay, she can’t win them all because this first game is a total blunder. Sonic 2006 was bad on all platforms, but the PS3 version somehow takes the cake. The visuals and performance were improved over the Xbox 360, but it traded this for loading times that were so disgusting that I could get up and make a cup of tea in the time it takes to switch between menus.
While echoes of Sonic Adventure can be found everywhere, this diabolical platformer is broken, unfinished and feels like a student project someone threw together in a matter of weeks rather than something meant to represent a legendary Sega mascot. What a mess.
Genji: Days of Blade
This one is slightly better. Known more for the “giant enemy crab” meme than the game itself, Genji: Days of Blade was a competent launch title with beautiful graphics let down by a painfully slow combat system. It strove for historical majesty and eventually became dull. The PS2 original is ten times better and there’s a big reason why this series hasn’t been talked about since.
Resistance Fall of Man
Now here’s a blast. Resistance remains a wonderful separate project from Insomniac Games. Not only does it retain Ratchet & Clank’s creative weapons, it also takes a generic alien invasion premise and breathes new life into it with a setting we haven’t replicated since. While the sequels would all go up our ass internationally, in the first game we have to battle through the cities of York, Grimsby, Manchester and Nottingham.
Playing it today, I wish our country was invaded by hostile alien life forms instead of struggling through another year of Tory leadership. There would probably be fewer food banks and more shops on the high street if the Chimera was in charge, let’s face it.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
My mom is responsible for my love for Naughty Dog, so in a way she’s also responsible for the remake of The Last of Us. I’ll talk to her and sort this out. But to her credit, I’d never heard of Uncharted when it was found in the piles of games next to my second-hand console, and at the time it was a graphic showcase that couldn’t be beat.
Today it’s a lame nightmare filled with dodgy technical decisions and horrendous writing, a testament to how far both Naughty Dog and the medium have come. However, in remastered form, it’s still a good time, and then it introduced me to a new kind of game blockbuster.
Sing Star Volume 2
Apparently it was painfully obvious when I first came out and my family knew about it for ages. Since they also bought me SingStar, maybe that should have been a pretty blatant hint that the whole thing was made of glass. It came with two mics, so I wasn’t the only one who became a pop sensation for the extended family after a pint of Pepsi Max. What a thrill this game was, and my love for karaoke continues.
It turns out that this game has only come to Xbox 360 and PC, but I’ve asked to include it in the header image because I’m sure I remember it, so I have to somehow get it in here. I’m pretty sure I mixed it up with Heavenly Sword. Or was it Untold: Legends Dark Kingdom? There was a beautiful lady and that’s all I know.
This was the only game I was super excited about, praying it was under the tree so I could lose myself in Bethesda’s RPG after hearing so many amazing things about it. I got my wish and was too young to realize how awful the PS3 port was too! I’d like to mention that before the release of Modern Warfare 2, I played all my games on a CRT that would electrocute me if I touched the screen or pressed any of the buttons. It’s a miracle I’m still alive and gaming today. Fallout 3 is a classic though, dodgy console ports aside.
Nonsense. At least it has dragons I think.
Digital games were scary back in 2008, but Jackass continued to be incredibly popular – and so Pain was born. This simplistic demonstration of chaos involved launching a poor fellow from a slingshot into the middle of a crowded cityscape with the aim of dealing as much damage as possible. It was really fun, and I remember spending so much time with my brother trying to beat each other’s scores before it was a day. I was never allowed to pick up the downloadable content though, so who knows if that was any good.
My mom knew I loved JRPGs, with names like Final Fantasy already a staple in our household. Yes, I was a cool kid. One Christmas day, she told me she found a game that looked like “those Final Fantasy games you like” and it turned out to be Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events for the PS2. I still haven’t forgiven that lying bitch.
Folklore was incredible though and even today remains a rare PS3 exclusive that I wish got more recognition. I loved it as a kid and played countless JRPGs on the platform ranging from masterful to mediocre. This one was comfy, spooky, and the perfect way to usher in a new generation.
I’m probably missing a few games that escaped my memory, but the PS3 remains one of my all-time favorite consoles as it came to a pivotal point in my upbringing. There are so many games from this era that I fondly remember, even if my brother would take them home after squeezing them off his friends in exchange for a joint. I couldn’t have played Demon’s Souls any other way, so it was an oddly perfect set of circumstances for a little gamer like me. I think I’ll have to do all my other consoles from my childhood now if I can remember enough of them. God I feel so old, but games are for life, not just for Christmas.
Next: Cyberpunk Edgerunners’ Rebecca Highlights Anime’s Bizarre Obsession With Underage Characters